I feel like I have walked into a clear stream with mud covering my feet. As I look down to really see how I got here, I wish I had seen what my journey was really like. I’ve been blogging and writing for a long time, so long that I thought I was over it. The more discomforting truth is that I’ve lost my own voice with all this writing. I could turn to the well everyday and draw up something to write about, I could read or hear something that might taste like water to the dry pallet I had for inspiration. Long into the process it was all inspiration reaching into an empty well. Much of what I’ve written is just echoes of better work and of what I liked. So much so that repetition and rephrasing became the meat on my bones, I’ve been creating an assortment of platypus like creatures just to keep publishing and farming readership for nothing of value. So after this brief reprieve, I’m going to go back to writing but actually reach for the water. I’d rather write to hear my own voice than continue with the same old nothing. I’m tempted to discard everything I’ve written so far if I’m being very honest but I haven’t taken that decision yet. For now I will rest and get a taste of my own voice.
I write when something inspires, the second I read something nice I’ve gotta write.
The problem with tethering your creative instincts to the world around you is that you’re caught in the tide. The colours you bring to story come from outside. When the world’s just the same, uninspired plastic happiness why write? The time you had isn’t enough any more, the drive isn’t worth dishonoring. You’ve gotta find a muse or wither way in some complacent routine in some complacent life.
My work as a counselor inspires, sure, but you leave that in session and honestly I’ll leave work at work. The most important step I think is to do some reading, its been a while and the world’s all the greyer for it.
I, an accomplished thief, do not steal because I greed, or envy the men behind their walls or fine fabrics. I steal because it makes for good story telling.
I trespass on principle. And of course on great and virtuous aims.
My job is to rescue. I enter homes, battle great gaurdian demons of suspicion, and seduce vaults to save defenseless gems from their imprisonment. Their lives, henceforth, of fast hands and shadowed passage make for far more fitting tales for such prizes.
Every stone valued behind some hero’s quest to retrieve them. Every rock growing more coveted once it’s gone, holding their masters in an unbreakable grip that men may only dream of.
Words fall like leaves
When I try to write
What I want to write
Back in Mangalore the library came to us. Struggling against the heat and the uphill climb an old man cycled closer.
Every month or fortnight he’d arrive. His bycycle had a large open box attached at the back. He could have fit in it easily. The box was made of tin or some metal that was showing its age, but it was not rusted.
Inside the box were comic books and magazines. Good literature too, maybe some religious works but I never bothered about them. The family would gather near the bycycle and pick up new material. The old man always stood bent over the box, watching what we’d pick up.
The material wasn’t actually new. They were just the latest things he got his hands on. Books from America libraries, books that said “remember me Jess”, book with random writing, folds and tears. The books were usually from the 70’s and 80’s with Americans having written in them. I have no idea how they got here.
I’d take copies of Archie’s comics and try to figure out the magazines. I must have been very young; I was very proud about having learnt how to spell “Zoo” from one of them.
The cycle library seemed to disappear from my life after a while, just all those warm Mangalore afternoons when there was nothing to do.
A serpent slithered besides me
Demanding paper with every step.
I had plenty I thought,
And gave a page now and then.
Blank paper; what is better
Than to spoil it? So he was fed.
Soon we reached my door
And what monster did I beget
Now slithering across my floor?
Where is the pain of travel
When the road is your home?
Is it this new desert that is barren
Or my soul?
Far way from the soil
You must know
The rituals of death
Come from tradition.
Long ago in the forests of our youth
We’d climb the trees and far flung branch.
That’s where I left my dream
Hanging onto the old wood bark.
Still I haunt the dried out tree,
In the light of the setting sun
Too far to reach,
I dare not climb.
Not fully awake,
I dreamt I was flying,
I closed my eyes
And again I was.
Visiting my grandparents was always an ordeal that inspired a variety of emotions. Every holiday I’d be sent away to their farm; until last year when they moved to city after my grandfather developed heart problems.
While I was still in school visiting the estate was something I looked forward to; I had next to no homework and could explore the farm or have people regal me stories all day long. When I was an adolescent I resented it because of how slow everything went and the lack of cable TV. When they moved to the city and had access to a greater amount of channels I had long since given up on TV and had moved onto the internet. This time however I think I’ve had a little too much of it all.
I decided that if I spent anymore time staring at a screen I’ll go blind and insane, or be overcome come by a desire to become one with the internet. While Mangalore isn’t the sleepy, green memory from my childhood it does have many quiet spots where moss grows on the walls next to quiet streams, cats laze about in the few spots where the sun makes it past the trees and human life seems non-existent. Every time I see an old building being torn down I repeatedly tell my companion for the day about the many woes of capitalism .
So much gets done when you have nothing to do. My minds still races around trying to figure out what it needs to get done. I’ve decided to not try and stop it since realizing that there’s nothing to do is an awesome feeling. I woke up at around 8:30 and spent an hour or so looking at the chickens next door than hopped up a few branches. It’s 11:30 now.So far I’ve read bit of Ruskin Bond and decided I should take note of his essay and strive for clarity in my writing. I’ve also started reading a history book in french, a Kannada magazine, watched a bit of tennis with my grandfather etc.
Among the many unusual delights the cities sleepiness has thrown up so far is the odd little man who stands in the apartment basement. I saw him yesterday and recalled my grandfathers curiosity about what might be ailing the man. I saw him again today while I was happily deleting the alarms I’d set on my phone.
The odd man was a skinny old thing with a house fly mustache clad in formal clothing. The sort of creature that anyone from the Indian sub-continent would classify as an “uncle”.
He stood by the desolate office in the apartment that I could see from our house. He stood there for an hour or so. He stood there by the stairs for an hour more. He was standing so I’m not sure if he was really sick. He chatted with a few people who’d come up to him so I reasoned he was quiet capable upstairs. He disappeared though after I started writing this. No one has seen him come or go. They haven’t even seem him move for that matter.
It’s odd writing about him. A man who just… stands. Stranger than fiction. I’d investigate further under normal circumstances and try to find out why the man spends his day day dreaming but I can’t help but feel inspired to lose myself to a day dream of my own, in the sleepy city.